Parkland survivor trolls Trump’s new sneaker venture by buying domain and directing visitors to gun safety site

Ex-president launched new shoe brand after he was ordered to pay $450m in two legal cases

Michelle Del Rey
Tuesday 20 February 2024 10:34 GMT
Marjorie Taylor Greene harasses Parkland survivor David Hogg
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Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg has bought a website address referencing former president Donald Trump’s new sneaker brand and turned it into an anti-gun violence website with the ability to call lawmakers to advocate for legislation.

Mr Hogg, who is now the president of Leaders We Deserve, an organisation dedicated to electing young candidates to Congress, made the announcement on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

“I just bought” the activist wrote. “I have redirected you to a page to call your member of Congress. The twist is the person who makes the call is a victim of gun violence whose voice has been re-created with AI to call for gun safety.”

Mr Trump launched a series of sneakers ranging from $199 to $399 to help him raise funds for his legal expenses. The more costly shoe named “The Never Surrender High-Tops”, a pair of gold-coloured sneakers with a black T emblazoned on the tongue, have sold out.

Some buyers are attempting to resell them for thousands of dollars, per Mr Trump’s Truth Social page.

It comes after the former president launched his-and-her Victory 47 perfume and cologne, with a gold stopper shaped like a quiffed head.

The former president started promoting the shoes on Sunday at Sneaker Con, a footwear convention in Philadelphia, just days after a judge in a New York civil fraud case ordered him to pay $350m – plus interest – for conspiring to manipulate his net worth. He was previously ordered to pay $83.3m to E Jean Carroll after he repeatedly defamed her by lying about his sexual assault of her in the 1990s.

David Hogg speaks at a gun safety rally in North Carolina in 2023 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Mr Trump has not addressed Mr Hogg’s site publicly but has continued to advertise the sneakers. After launching the site, the anti-gun violence activist later wrote, “Not going to lie, pretty proud of this. Thanks to my tech savvy friends who helped.”

The website has been used to send 58,362 calls since its launch. Visitors to the website can listen to the generated voices of six gun violence victims, enter their zip codes and then send their selected recording to a politician of their choice.

According to the website, 43,036 gun violence deaths occurred in 2023. So far this year, almost 5,000 people have died from gun violence.

In February 2018, 17 people were killed and 17 others were injured after a former student opened gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

After the incident, Mr Hogg went on to become an anti-gun violence activist and a co-founder of March for Our Lives, a student led organisation that advocates for gun control legislation.

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